Law-and-order Hillary Clinton: In stark contrast to Donald Trump, her approach to guns and criminal-justice reform would build a safer country

On its second night, the Democratic National Convention focused on the true law-and-order presidential candidate — and it surely wasn’t self-declared sheriff Donald Trump. The U.S. has experienced a four-decade-long decline in crime, although some cities are now suffering spikes in violence and police forces are struggling to come to grips with the use of deadly force, particularly against African-Americans. Guns are a common factor in the two trends, as well as mass shootings. Widely available, they drive up bloodshed — again often among African-Americans — and can put police at trip-wire readiness to open fire. The next American President must have the bandwidth both to attack gun violence and to sensitively address unnecessary force and racial bias in policing. By featuring at the convention the seven so-called Mothers of the Movement, Hillary Clinton synthesizes the critical thrusts of the law-and-order equation. The group includes the mothers of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, who were killed by police, as well as the mother of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot dead at 15 by Chicago gang members. In his nomination acceptance speech last week, Trump painted a portrait of crime that would frighten Edvard Munch. Violence is out of control all across America, he said, ignoring crime rates that are near generational lows. Having created a crisis where none exists, Trump offered himself as the magician who could fix the problem with the wave of a gold-plated wand: “The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on Jan. 20, 2017, safety will be restored.” Worse than his cynical promise, Trump rules out federal gun laws aimed at keeping weapons out of the hands of dangerous or disturbed people or suspected terrorists. Same deal for an assault-weapons ban he once supported. Instead, he blares about ever more deadly guns in Continue Reading

Georgia lawmaker Tommy Benton says Ku Klux Klan wasn’t racist but were vigilantes who kept ‘law and order’

A Georgia lawmaker is bizarrely trying to rebrand the Ku Klux Klan.  Georgia State Rep. Tommy Benton, a Republican, claims the KKK isn't a racist terrorist organization but nothing more than "a vigilante thing to keep law and order," as part of his latest effort to preserve the South's history. Benton made the inflammatory remarks in light of a new bill, introduced Wednesday, which he co-sponsored that would preserve the Stone Mountain site in Georgia, where Confederate leaders are carved onto the side of a rock and where the KKK launched a rebirth in 1915. Benton said the destruction of the site is akin to the “cultural terrorism” ISIS is waging throughout the Middle East.  “That’s no better than what ISIS is doing, destroying museums and monuments,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I feel very strongly about this. I think it has gone far enough. There is some idea out there that certain parts of history out there don’t matter anymore and that’s a bunch of bunk.” Benton introduced the bill in response to Senate Bill 294, which would forbid the state from recognizing Confederate holidays, proposed by Sen. Vincent Fort. “For him to degenerate into that kind of name calling is beneath a response from me,” Fort, a Democrat, told the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution. “That kind of hyperbole does not allow for anything approaching a debate. It’s unfortunate that he would use that language,” he added. Benton’s attempts to preserve Confederate history follow the racially motivated massacre at the South Carolina historic Emanuel AME black church last year. After the massacre, where nine churchgoers were slain, there was widespread outcry about the Confederate flag, which was deemed racist and taken down from the state’s government buildings amid national pressure. Continue Reading

Whoopi Goldberg set to guest star on ‘Law and Order: SVU’ this fall

Whoopi Goldberg will have a guest star role on “Law and Order: SVU,” which will enter into its 17th season this fall. The award-winning actress will portray a character named Janette Grayson, a Department of Child Services supervisor whose fake reports land her on trial and put children in harm’s way. This will not be Goldberg’s first guest appearance in a television series. Goldberg — one of the few to have earned an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award — has appeared on a number of primetime comedies and dramas, including “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Entourage,” “Suburgatory” and “Glee.” Known for her past stand-up comedy performances and iconic movie roles, Goldberg has become even more of a household name due to her razor-sharp statements on ABC’s daytime network show, “The View.” Continue Reading

Watching ‘Law and Order’ may prevent rape: study

Dun-Dun. “Law and Order” may prevent rape. A new study reveals that viewers of the long-running show have a better grasp of sexual consent than viewers of crime dramas such as "CSI" or “NCIS.” The study by The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University shows a connection between how sexual violence on TV and how people view consent. It was published in the Journal of Health Communication. “Viewers of ‘Law & Order’ not only see the criminal act taking place, but they typically see the criminal punished,” said researcher Stacey Hust. Continue Reading

Law and order coming to Wild West of weed? Proposed law would regulate California’s medical marijuana industry

SAN FRANCISCO -- Law and order may soon be coming to the Wild West of weed. A California lawmaker has introduced legislation to regulate the state's free-wheeling medical marijuana industry — the farmers that grow the drug, the hundreds of storefront shops that sell it and the doctors who write recommendations allowing its use. The bill marks a milestone not only because it would provide significant state oversight of the multi-billion dollar industry for the first time, but because it is likely to get serious consideration in Sacramento after years of inaction. It is the brainchild of the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities, politically influential groups that have stood in the way of efforts to legitimize pot growers and dispensaries by subjecting them to state control and taxation. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

TV weatherman charged with having sex with girl, 15, in ‘law and order room’ of his Mississippi home whenever his wife was away

A married TV weatherman had sex with a teen girl in a "law and order" room at his home whenever his wife was away, police have claimed. Cops launched an investigation into Eric Law, on-camera meteorologist for Mississippi's WLBT since 2004, after the 15-year-old's parents grew concerned about their "close relationship." Investigators then found a series of explicit Facebook messages, allegedly between the pair, which led to the 32-year-old's arrest. The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told cops she would go over to Law's house whenever his wife was away. They would then go into a room he called "the law and order room" — believed to be in reference to Law's love of the TV crime show of the same name — to have sex. Law, who met his wife in a Christian chat room in 1999, was arrested last Thursday. He was charged with two counts of sexual battery and two counts of gratification of lust. Each charge carries sentences of between 15 and 30 years in jail and $5,000 or $10,000 fines. Appearing at Madison Municipal Court, his attorney Matt Baldridge said he intended to plead not guilty. Released from jail after posting a $200,000 bond, which bans him from contacting any minors and his alleged victim's family, he's been suspended from work at the Jackson-based station, reports the Examiner. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Indy lawmaker turns to law and order approach to fight opioid epidemic

Sen. Jim Merritt was key in passing more than 15 pieces of legislation this year dedicated to fighting the opioid epidemic through an emphasis on treatment and prevention. Next year, the Indianapolis Republican signaled he will largely focus on a law-and-order approach, calling for more stringent sentencing when it comes to drug-related or violent crimes.Merritt outlined his plan Tuesday for curbing the opioid epidemic, including bills that: Create a 10-year minimum sentence for drug dealers if a death results from their drug deals. Punish dealers who sell any synthetic drugs that mimic another. Impose a 10-year minimum sentence for selling drugs laced with fentanyl, an opioid pain medication that Merritt says contributes to most fatal overdoses.He also plans to introduce legislation that will add protections for off-duty police officers. “I’m empowering prosecutors and I think that’s what we need to do," Merritt said. "Because it’s not working right now."Last year, lawmakers passed legislation that gave local governments more freedom to start needle exchanges, limited the amount of opioids doctors could prescribe and created a pilot program to help opioid addicted pregnant women and those with newborns.Merritt has previously emphasized that the drug epidemic shouldn't be looked at as a law enforcement issue. But only the first of the bills Merritt plans to present next year is focused on that aspect.Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, worried Merritt's proposals for increased sentences return to the "war on Drugs" mentality, popularized during Richard Nixon's presidency. "It's pure economics," Taylor said. "You can address supply. You can put drug dealers behind bars. But as long as there is a demand for the product, there is going to be a supplier. And we are not addressing the demand for this issue by putting people behind bars." ► More: Indianapolis to sue Continue Reading

Occupy Wall Street lawlessly stops ‘Law and Order’

So zealous is Occupy Wall Street in voicing its First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly that it will gladly trample over those of others. The target on early Friday morning was “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” which was shooting an episode in lower Manhattan’s Foley Square. The plotline involved a Zuccotti Park-like encampment. Well, the OWS crowd didn’t like being co-opted by “corporate TV America,” in the words of one of the protesters. And so some 100 occupiers went down to Foley Square, where they succeeded in shutting down the “Law and Order” set. Declared one protester, “We made it so that they could not exploit us and that’s awesome.” He did not explain how shutting down a TV shoot furthered such OWS goals as income equality or corporate responsibility. How can anyone bother with such trifling questions during a revolution? Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘Law and Order’ actress Kathryn Erbe’s alleged stalker gets five-year probation

An obsessed fan who told a judge Wednesday he had been raped in prison was sentenced to five years probation for stalking "Law and Order" actress Kathryn Erbe. Charles Nagel, 37, trashed the star, wept and pleaded for mercy in an all-out bid to avoid going to jail for harassing the actress and members of her family with bizarre emails and letters. The pudgy creep showed no remorse for the campaign of terror he waged after he thought Erbe had rejected his demand for a hug and autographs on the set of the TV show. Nagel posted a photo of Erbe's young daughter on Facebook with a cockroach drawn on her face and the words "I'm ugly" scrawled in a bubble next to her mouth. He also defaced her brother's photo with homophobic graffiti. "I really never had any malicious or salacious intentions," he said in Brooklyn Federal Court. "I was scapegoated by someone." He shamelessly dragged along his young daughters -- named Harley Quinn and Batgirl -- to beg the judge not to send their father to prison. Nagel, of Philadelphia, faced up to 57 months in prison, but Judge Jack Weinstein said the sentencing guidelines were too harsh. "The defendant is a troubled person with serious psychiatric problems requiring continuing treatment and supervision," Weinstein said, adding that he'd already served 115 days behind bars and 380 days of house arrest. His daughters' visible distress didn't stop Nagel from blubbering that he was raped by an inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn after he was arrested - a claim prosecutor Allon Lifshitz said is false. The prosecutor also blasted a defense psychologist who referred to the victim in his report as "an attractive actress" but one lacking "unattainable beauty or intimidating sexuality." Nagel was a ordered to pay $42,000 in restitution to cover Erbe's costs for security and emotional damages. He told the judge he has no assets, but outside court lawyer Robert Datner acknowledged the defendant owned Continue Reading

‘Law and Order: SVU’ star Richard Belzer under fire over unreturned phone call to Shamsher Wadud

Hey, Shamsher Wadud, Richard Belzer still wants to speak to you — just as soon as your people place a call to his people.  Three months ago, we reported that Wadud, the ailing former owner of Central Park South celebrity hot spot Nirvana, was hoping for a get-well call from the comic and "Law and Order: SVU" actor, who he fondly recalled from high school.  That call never took place — even though last year Lynn Robnett, a rep from Belzer's management company, Panacea Entertainment, informed us that the actor would be happy to talk to Wadud — and had even volunteered the proceeds from a future stand-up comedy appearance to help his old school mate. "I am deeply hurt," he told us through his loyal pal and unpaid publicist Sy Presten. And yet, a rep from Belzer's management company says she's made a "couple of attempts to reach Wadud via his cell phone to set up a call between him and Belzer, but he hasn't answered or returned her calls. "I don't think it's necessary to portray Richard in a bad light," wrote Robnett when Shamsher "is the one not returning" calls. Robnett says she has the "phone records to prove it," but Wadud's friends counter that no one from Belzer's camp has called. "Why in the world would Shamsher not return the phone call he's been waiting for for several weeks?" says Presten, who adds: "Shamsher doesn't want anything from Belzer. He just wants to hear some encouraging words and recall old times."Andrew Warde High School in Fairfield, Conn., when he met Belzer and nicknamed him "Jerry Lewis" because the future comic was always cracking jokes.    The future restaurateur lost track of Belzer until 2000 when he learned the he was on "Law and Order." That year, Wadud threw Belzer a lavish birthday party at another eatery he owned, The Landmark, that drew Belzer's castmate Mariska Hargitay and his bud, "Late Show with David Letterman" bandleader Paul Shaffer. She also points out that Belzer Continue Reading